Here are some editorials from newspapers around the state:

Feeling jubilant about July

From the July 28 Laramie Boomerang

July is always an eventful month in the Gem City of the Plains. The Fourth of July and Laramie Jubilee Days brings excitement to the community, and we enjoyed the celebrations earlier this month as we always do.

Freedom has a Birthday is a family-friendly event that brings out hundreds of people to Washington Park each year. As it is most years, it was pretty darn hot out there, but that didn’t stop crowds from enjoying the day. The Fire in the Sky display that night was also impressive and inspiring – perfect for the patriotic holiday.

This year, it was moving to read a story in the July 21 edition of the Boomerang about Laramie Police officers going above and beyond their call of duty in helping a 5-year-old boy who was injured during the parade. Sgt. Robert Austin, Officer Ethan Greenawalt and their colleagues deserve our gratitude for their compassion and dedication in helping this young man. We’ll be even more thankful if the Laramie Jubilee Days Board of Directors establish some guidelines for children participating in the parade going forward, as it seems now there are no safety requirements in place. Something like this, or worse, will no doubt happen again, and preventative measures should be taken to mitigate risk to those who participate in the parade that brings joy to the streets of Laramie.

We’re also thankful for the youth activities provided during the summer in our community, giving young people the opportunity to spend time with peers, develop skills and, most importantly, have fun. The Laramie Little League teams, the Laramie Girls Softball organization, American Legion Baseball and other sports are all great examples. The Albany County Library teaming up with the University of Wyoming Planetarium for the summer reading program, Base Camp’s age-appropriate hiking program, our Laramie Recreation Center, 4-H and the Albany County Fair and more are also fun ways for our younger residents to engage with their community. Our hats are off to all the folks who organize these important activities and events.

The end of our weeks show us a good time, delicious food and vendor offerings at the Thursday Local Market in Undine Park and the Downtown Market on Friday at Depot Park. Both are gatherings that people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy. We encourage anyone who hasn’t gone to these events to take an afternoon to try them out.

The popular and long-running Albany County CattleWomen Ranch Tour, a late-July tradition for more than 60 years, visited the Rock River and Arlington areas on the western side of Albany County on July 20, highlighting some of our local history. It’s great to see these folks taking locals and visitors for tours of some of our rural historic landmarks, and we love this year that it went out to Rock River. Albany County is enormous, and it’s really interesting to learn about areas outside of Laramie.

The Laramie Main Street Alliance is something to be thankful for in perpetuity, but we were especially impressed by the initiative of cleaning up the streets this summer. It is an excellent example of people getting their hands dirty to make the city a better place. We need more of that in Laramie.

Road construction is never fun to deal with, but it has been surprising how little problem there has been with traffic through the Grand Avenue project. Obviously local residents must have moved their travel to other streets and routes to avoid the potential congestion. That seems to have left room for visitors who may not be as familiar with alternate routes. So far things are working better than might have been anticipated.

Finally for local appreciations, congratulations to Stacy Lam on being named the next Clerk of District Court, replacing long-time clerk Janice Sexton. Speaking of Sexton, we thank her for her many years of service. Those of us who worked with Sexton will miss her presence in the court house.

On the statewide level, we appreciate Gov. Mark Gordon and Auditor Kristi Racines’ efforts to get online. It shows the politicians keeping promises made during their campaigns last year in creating a resource that helps taxpayers better understand government. It’s particularly appreciated on the auditor’s side, as Racines was able to accomplish something her predecessor repeatedly insisted was impossible. Less than a year in office and it’s done – that’s impressive.

Additional kudos should go to the governor for establishing the task force on missing and murdered indigenous women. The request from Native Americans came during a visit in Laramie, and we have an initiative to bring more tribal members to UW, so it’s great to see him following through on at least getting that started. Hopefully it doesn’t end up as a report of recommended policy changes that just sits on a shelf.

Finally, our thanks go to the Gillette News Record, the Casper Star Tribune, WyoFile and Wyoming Public Media for the great reporting on nearly 600 Blackjewel LLC coalminers being locked out of the company’s mines in Campbell County. It’s been impressive work on a troubling situation that has implications for our state and beyond. These news agencies have been dogged in their pursuit of information that we should all be following.

Accessible information

From the July 25 Green River Star

Want to find out how much your local government is spending, where it’s spent or which government positions earn the most; there are a variety of publicly available documents to satisfy that curiosity. Want to know how a public official responded in an email conversation with other officials or are curious about what the Green River City Council approved in May 2017. There are documents that can answer those questions too.

Government documents and reports are the best window into how your governments operate. They show what is being spent and where, giving anyone looking at them a detailed view of how their local, municipal and county governments operate. These documents are incredibly important.

At the Green River Star, we’ve broke many stories with the assistance of these documents. While a lot of people would assume a “Deepthroat” informant leaking secret information to us is what generates articles aimed at revealing our local governments at work; more often than not, it’s access to publicly-available information that inspires those articles.

It’s access that needs to always be protected. While many custodians of public records will quickly grant access and even assist residents in understanding the information contained within those documents, some choose not to. While it’s easy to suggest those denials are made because they don’t want to be bothered or they legitimately don’t want someone to see the information contained in a document, both of which can and do happen, we believe many more denials to access are made because they’re unaware of what a person can look at.

We encourage residents to take a look at what their governing bodies are doing and ask to see the records those groups generate.

For anyone that has problems in seeking this information, give us a call. We’re more than happy to help you out.

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